A disagreement had arisen between India and Germany last month due to the disparity in the number of flights being operated by Lufthansa and AI. A senior Indian aviation official had then said while AI was operating three to four flights a week to and from Germany, Lufthansa was having 20 flights here. India had last month offered seven flights a week to Lufthansa which was not accepted by them.
As a result of this disagreement, Lufthansa had cancelled all its planned India flights between September 30 and October 20. Germany had withdrawn permission for AI to operate flights to Frankfurt in the first half of October. Due to this the Maharaja had cancelled all the 12 flights that were operate from October 1 to 14.
Now, with India and Germany finalising a more equitable number of flights — Lufthansa 10 weekly and AI 7 instead of the earlier AI 3-4 weekly and Lufthansa 20 — flights will resume.
Aviation minister H S Puri tweeted on Wednesday saying: “Flights between India and Germany recommence under air bubble arrangement. Lufthansa will operate from Delhi (4 days), Mumbai (3 days) and Bengaluru (3 days). Air India will operate 5 weekly flights from Delhi and 2 every week from Bengaluru to Frankfurt.”
Flights between India & Germany recommence under air bubble arrangement. Lufthansa will operate from Delhi (4 days)… https://t.co/9cNyCQIZcH
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) 1603286609000
Under the air bubble agreement with Lufthansa and Air France, Indian passengers were supposed to travel only between India and the EU on these airlines. The special arrangement conditions meant an Indian passenger eligible to travel under current rules could not fly from India to Germany and then take a connecting flight from there to North America. However, the EU carriers were taking that traffic also and were asked to abide by the terms of the air bubble.
Accordingly, the Lufthansa website now says that “special criteria apply on Lufthansa flights to/from India under the Indian air travel bubble. Kindly ensure that you fulfil one of the below listed eligibility criteria: All diplomats travelling between India and anywhere on the Lufthansa Group network; Any Indian national holding a valid visa and all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders holding passports issued by any country in the EU/Schengen area, South America or Africa only and destined for any country in the EU/Schengen area, South America or Africa; Foreign nationals/residents destined for the EU/Schengen area, South America or Africa or spouses of these persons, whether accompanying or otherwise and destined for any country in the EU/Schengen area, South America or Africa…”
Lufthansa had scheduled flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai in October. Due to the number of flights allowed, Chennai will have to wait for some time before it can get Lufthansa flights.
Vistara has been planning flights to Frankfurt and Paris under India’s air bubbles with Germany and France. Once and if it does so or AI adds flights to Frankfurt/Munich and the number of flights by Indian carriers to Germany increases, Lufthansa may also be allowed more flights proportionately while keeping equitability the key factor between both sides, say sources.